We just got home from a 3 day weekend in Orlando to visit Universal/Islands of Adventure. Orlando is only about 100 miles away but it's fun to take a mini-vacation. This weekend was extra-special because it was to celebrate my daughter's 9th birthday. She wanted this trip instead of a party. We usually stay at places like Hampton Inn, Comfort Suites, etc. mostly because breakfast is included. However, for this particular weekend those places were over $100/night, way more than we wanted to spend. I booked this through hotwire, which I've never done before, it was scary but I couldn't pass it up for $50/night. I figured for that amount of savings we could swing buying breakfast :).
As soon as I saw the hotel name on hotwire I consulted trusty tripadvisor.com. The consensus was that this hotel was convenient to Universal, a bit older/run down, but clean and the view was amazing if you got the right room. I found the manager's name (Artanika) and emailed to request a higher level room. I got a response that a room on a higher floor would be no problem. I really wasn't expecting that, especially since I booked through hotwire. When we checked in, they said our high rise room was all set. I was honestly very surprised because I figured I'd ask and it would have just gotten brushed under the rug. No, we were on the 17th floor (highest is 21) on the side that overlooks Universal. I got a parking space right by the back door which made it easier to get all of our stuff to the elevator.
I prepared for the worst with the room but was again pleasantly surprised. The air temp was nice, the beds had lots of pillows and nice bedding (updated from the pics on the website), the view was amazing even in the dark, the TV was huge (although it took us about 20 minutes to get it turned on-it had been set to video game mode), and the water pressure was great in the shower. The bathroom looked a little dated and had old stains but it was fine.
I noticed a lot of reviews stating that the hotel is very secure and you have to use your card key everywhere...I didn't find this to be the case. I never had to use my card key for the elevator and the back left door is freely unlocked without having to use your key. This didn't bother me, just a note here.
We checked in late on Thursday night so the shuttle representative was already gone, but we came back Friday morning and made a reservation for the shuttle at 9:30am. Keep in mind that if you miss the 9:30am shuttle there isn't another one until 11:30am. I always like to take shuttles when we stay in Orlando because parking is so expensive, plus you don't have to bother with finding a spot and keeping track of your keys all day. Four Points is one of the shuttle's first pick-ups and there are about 4-5 more stops after. The driver has to go check in with the office of each hotel so it will take you about 30-40 minutes to get to Universal which is about a 5 minute drive. Again, this didn't bother me but it may be a factor for some impatient to get to the park. I'd much rather pay a shuttle driver $1/per person than worry about parking for $15 or getting a dishonest cab driver that may try to show us Orlando. The return times for the shuttle were very convenient both for our Islands of Adventure day and our Universal Studios day. By the way, Four Points is the second shuttle stop on the way home, which was nice.
Our second day we made the mistake of getting downstairs to book a shuttle at about 10:00am. We scheduled the 11:30am shuttle and then went to get breakfast. As others have mentioned, the hotel is right in between ihop and Denny's. We tried both and the lines were out the door, so we went down I-drive to try to find something else. EVERYwhere was packed like that, so we went back to the hotel for the buffet. Ahhh, quiet and peaceful away from the stress of the crowds and we could relax about missing our shuttle. The hostess with the accent (I'm sorry, I forgot her name!) was so sweet and gracious. The buffet had scrambled eggs (very runny, eww), bacon, potato wedges, french toast, oatmeal with lots of topping choices, pastries, and bread. Besides the eggs, it was all really good. My daughter was free (yay!), we paid $30 or two of us with tip. It was totally worth being away from the crowds. The next morning we ate at Village Inn near the convention center because I got a Kids Eat Free card from AAA when I got the park tickets. I wish we had eaten at the hotel again! 9:30am was a HUGE difference in the crowds from 10:30am the day before so if you can, eat early.
The walls of the hotel are VERY thin...aside from the normal door slamming noises you can hear everything going on in the next room. Thursday night our neighbors woke us up with yelling and the next night it was 1:00am with yelling, cursing, and slamming things around in the room. I could hear every single thing they said. We called the front desk and they sent security up. No more problems after that and no problems the next night.
Universal Studios closed at 5pm Saturday for Halloween Horror Nights so by the time we took the 11:30 shuttle there we didn't have much time to do everything we wanted to do. We got back to the hotel early and walked to Sweet Tomatoes. After dinner my daughter wanted to go swimming so I put on my bathing suit thinking I'd get into the hot tub. No hot tub :(. I got in the pool with her but was way too cold for me. We played some games in the game room, which was fun but the games stole like 4-5 tokens from us.
While check in was perfect, check out Sunday was mayhem. I don't know what kind of event/tour bus rolled into town but the elevators and the front lobby were insane. I left my key at the front desk so I didn't have to go back upstairs to leave the key in the room. Hopefully I got checked out ok, I'm still not sure!
Sorry for the textbook of a review, but I wanted to try to give important details. I would definitely stay here again, but only at the hotwire price.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in the heart of Central Florida on infamous International Drive, the Four Points by Sheraton Orlando hotel near Universal Orlando(R) Resort offers modern accommodations, upgraded amenities and an ideal location near the area's top attractions. Designed for comfort and convenience, this 100% smoke-free hotel features 301 contemporary guest rooms, complete with complimentary Wi-Fi, 40" flat-screen TVs, white crisp bedding, a coffee maker, soothing bath amenities and more. Guests can also enjoy premium amenities, including on-site dining at Tropical Palms Restaurant, an outdoor pool and fire pit, a 24-hour fitness center, 6,500 square feet of meeting space, business center services, a complimentary shuttle service to select theme parks, scheduled activities, a game room, and other conveniences. This Orlando hotel on International Drive is also located near major hotspots, like Universal Studios(R) Florida and Islands of Adventure(R), SeaWorld(R) Orlando, Walt Disney World(R) Resort and more. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- 4 Points By Sheraton Studio City Hotel
- Four Points Orlando
- Sheraton Orlando
- Orlando Sheraton
- Orlando Four Points
- Sheraton Studio City Orlando